Top stories 2017: Rivera retires, resurfaces as school board member

New London native Manuel “Manny” Rivera surprised the school board this summer with the news he planned to retire. Rivera’s hiring in 2015 was applauded as the right pick at the right time for a school district in transition and following a debacle in which the school board nearly hired a Chicago educator who plagiarized sections of his job application, misused the title of “Dr.” and failed to disclose a past bankruptcy.

Rivera was well-liked during his time in the district but hurt some feelings when he left. The two and a half years he spent in the district fell well short of what many had expected. His contract would have run through 2021. School board members were also disappointed. Five of the seven members opted not to seek re-election though it is unclear whether Rivera’s departure played a part in those decisions.

Vacancies later appeared on the Democratic school board slate and, two months after his retirement, Rivera resurfaced as a candidate for the Board of Education. There were skeptics even among his Democratic running mates, but in the November election, Rivera secured a spot on the school board.

— Greg Smith

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